The Opening Tip tells you about Stromile Swift’s post-NBA plans. It’s the Nets tonight in New Jersey, also known as the asshole of New York. Everybody knew the Nets had young talent but not many counted on them being 2.5 games ahead of us at this point of the season and I have to say, I am a bit envious. Lawrence Frank needs to be given a lot of credit for the way his team his is playing, Devin Harris being in a contract-year definitely helps and Carter showing up for 2 out of every 3 games is a bonus that’s helping them gather momentum for their Brooklyn move. Seeing how they’re playing so well you wonder if they’re still looking to deal Vince Carter at the deadline, his recent play is definitely upping his value, question is do the Nets renew their faith in him? And dare I say we do need a small forward….Oh no I didn’t just suggest that! Or did I?

I was going to talk about this and other stuff with Fred Kerber from the NY Post but a bad throat came in the way – damn Pacers game – so we’ll settle for him reminding us that the Nets haven’t found their groove at home and are playing .400 ball in the swamp. The Nets give up the 5th most points in the NBA at 103.3 per game (we’re 9th at 101.95) so it’s likely that this game will follow a similar format as the heart-breaker from a couple weeks ago. First team to play some defense wins. The coaching change has definitely resulted in improved defensive techniques but it isn’t reflected in the overall points allowed which stands at 103.5 under Triano.

Our attitude coming into this one should be that of exacting revenge and hours of game-tape needs to be watched in advance. The way Devin Harris dissected Jose Calderon at the point-of-attack in the 4th quarter and OT was something to behold. We don’t have a lockdown defender that can contain Vince Carter when he’s in the zone but we can try to get the ball out of his hands if he starts to get hot. This is the first time Triano gets to face a team we’re already played once so its a good chance to see what he’ll do different than Mitchell. I think Triano’s going to be up to these neutralization tasks and the usual coaching mismatch that exists when we play the Nets isn’t there tonight. The other player that really hurt us in that game was Brook Lopez who gave Jermaine O’Neal a lesson in post-up execution and finished with 14/6 on 7-11 shooting. O’Neal in that game went for 7/7 on 3-11 shooting. Other than Bosh, the Raptors rarely have a favorable matchup in a game so when O’Neal is matched up with a rookie, it is very important that he win his individual battle because we can safely count on Parker, Bargnani and Moon losing theirs.

Stating the obvious and running with isn’t something restricted to blogs anymore, the mainstream media is figuring out that they too can put out an article based on very little actual facts. Take for example this piece in The Star which says Bryan Colangelo is likely to make a small move rather than a big one.

Fact is we can’t make a big trade because we’re not willing to part with Bargnani, now his value might not be that much but there are always teams looking to take a gamble on a talent like that (just like we did). If the bait isn’t good, the fish won’t be big. We’re basically looking to trade Parker’s expiring contract and maybe Graham. I don’t see the Raptors giving up on Humphries because frankly he’s a pretty good piece and we’re already paper-thin up-front in terms of rebounding, especially if JO goes down. I thought we’d trade Kapono but it makes no basketball sense, we got two post-up options on the team and trading away the NBA’s best shooter to make them pay for doubling sounds ridiculous. It would be going totally against the grain of how this team finds success – incite double, swing ball, make three. Graham’s coming on of late and Triano obviously likes him. So maybe we trade Moon? I don’t know, its small fries no matter how you slice it.

Doug also says it could be as small as signing an “unemployed free agent or minor leaguer to a contract for the rest of the season.” Awesome, I just jizzed in my pants.

The talk in the clubhouse is positive despite the 1-3 record under the new coach because of the little things that have been going right lately. Calderon says

Right now, we’re not the best team in the world, but we’re getting better and we’re better today than we were yesterday, we have to continue to take little steps. We still need time to get used to what Jay wants us to do and how he wants us to play. In time, we’ll be a much better team, but we need to be patient and stay together.

O’Neal says:

Our confidence was wavering a little bit, that’s what happens when you lose five in a row. Everyone is trying to adjust to Jay and winning shows everyone what Jay is attempting to accomplish. We were trying, but it just wasn’t happening. Now we can build off a win. It’s different building off a win than it is building off a loss.

The article also says Bryan Colangelo is working the phones as part of his “daily due diligence”. I don’t know if that means a trade is coming because part of my “daily due diligence” is to see if I can find a better job but that never happens. Here’s John Hollinger’s take on the Raptors recent win and Jay Triano, and of course Jamario Moon who he looovvveess.

New Raptors coach Jay Triano implemented my suggestion to bench Andrea Bargnani and start Jamario Moon, and it worked out well in Wednesday’s 101-88 win over the Pacers. Moon had 17 points and eight boards and, as one might expect, was a far more effective defender than Il Mago, especially at the 3. As for my other suggestion, that might have to wait. With Kris Humphries battling right knee tendonitis, there’s no chance he’ll be stealing Bargnani’s minutes as the top frontcourt reserve just yet. In fact, the Raps are down to a three-man frontcourt rotation and likely will use Moon and the suddenly relevant Joey Graham at the 4 for stretches until Humphries can return.

The Nets game on Monday is on TSN2 but Rogers and TSN and are still fighting about who gets to make more money. Screw ‘em, we’ll put the stream up anyway. Chris Bosh is struggling to beat Lebron and KG in the All-Star voting and rightfully so, usually the fans are pretty dead on about who deserves to get in (except for VC a few years back) and this year sounds fair to me. KG and Lebron’s teams are #1 and #2 in the East and they’re the driving force behind their success whereas Bosh has yet to prove that he can have a similar impact on his club than those two.

Swamp tonight, join us at Philthy McNasty’s at 7:30PM. Let’s go you Raps!!

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